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Xavier Magazine | June 18, 2018

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Extra Credit: Geraldo de Sousa

Extra Credit: Geraldo de Sousa
By France Griggs Sloat

As the University’s Shakespearean expert, Geraldo de Sousa helps students discover what kind of scholars they are to be or not to be. The native of Brazil came to the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship (“I identify myself so completely with the U.S. I admire American culture,” he says.) and joined the University in 1989. In the last 14 years, he’s garnered a reputation among students for tough courses.

Students say you’re the toughest professor on campus. True? “The material is difficult at first, and they have to work hard. And I have high expectations. I think they are capable of accomplishing a great deal. I think if you challenge them, they will respond. If they put an effort into Shakespeare, it’s extremely rewarding.”

What drew you to Shakespeare? “In the eighth grade, I had a good teacher who introduced me to Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet, and then I rediscovered Shakespeare in graduate school. I had a wonderful teacher. I took one class and switched from American to English literature. The most powerful element in Shakespeare for me is his representation of the different dimensions of human nature. He covers a whole range of human experience in terms of the big questions we have to deal with in life: ‘What are we doing here?’ ‘What is the meaning of our lives?’ He always goes back to those questions.”

You also like sports literature. Isn’t that a strange mix with Shakespeare? “I’m interested in the relationship between sports and life in terms of ethics and working in teams. I like the way there is a relationship between sports and the community, the construction of civic responsibility and the idea of the community coming together for essentially a celebration. I’ve designed a course to teach next fall or spring.”

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

Authored two books: Shakespeare: A Study and Research Guide, and Shakespeare’s Cross-Cultural Encounters …also teaches Spenser, Milton, Renaissance drama and literary theory… fluent in English, French and Spanish …taught at Iowa State and Kansas before coming to Xavier in 1989.

EDUCATION

University Center of Brazilia, B.A. in English and Portuguese

University of Kansas, M.A. and Ph.D. in English

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